Members of the United States: Don’t blink – because once again we have a major sport being decided by referee controversy.
Only this time, it’s during the World Cup tournament – one that thanks to the U.S.A.’s performance in the Confederations Cup last year, may be picking up a little bit of steam in our country’s television food chain.
Let’s face it, while many kids play soccer in our home country, and thousands and thousands of fans are rooting the home country on in the World Cup – it’s still our version of football (not their’s) that’s closest to our hearts.
But now, perhaps collectively we can relate to the game even more, because while the U.S.A. sports fans desperately tried to group together and rally behind the home team, hope instead got ruthlessly torn apart by a bad call.
Scratch that, a REALLY bad call.
At least when all was said and done, the United States team managed a 2-2 draw with Slovenia during Friday morning’s 2010 World Cup match – all after a valiant and heroic effort in the second half, after the Americans fell behind 2-0.
With the draw, the US manages a second point in Group C – meaning that there is still a chance that the Americans could move on and advance to be among the final 16 teams.
Still, they may need some help – and more answers to that question will be cleared up after the match between England and Algeria has been completed.
Still, this game went from hopeless to hopeful in a matter of minutes – then over to complete frustration and agony as the Americans had a likely game-winning goal swiped away from them.
In the waning minutes of the match, a free kick by Landon Donovan was followed up by Maurice Edu, and kicked into the net for what would have been a 3-2 lead.
But the referee called it off.
Upon seeing the replay multiple times, the general consensus was that not only was there no foul on the United States, but Michael Bradley was being held on the play and Maurice Edu was clearly not offsides, either.
Plain and simple, this was clearly a go-ahead goal.
Instead, we can now mesh the World Cup right there with the recent issues in sports on our home soil – from Tim Donaghy and the controversies from the NBA referees, to Major League Baseball, frequent bad calls and the necessary addition of instant replay, to much, much more.
It seems that over recent years, sports have been consistently ruined (or stained) by half-assed officiating – or perhaps one-sided playcalling.
There’s human error, and there’s what we’ve been seeing in the sports world recently.
Seriously, is it too much to ask for a clean and evenly called game on the biggest of stages?
One wouldn’t think so.
So if your personality is anything like mine, you’re currently brewing up a mixture of elation (that the U.S.A. fought back) and anger, because of how the game took a turn towards controversy in the 86th minute.
Since the call can’t be reversed and instant replay can’t magically be created in this year’s World Cup, we as Americans need to force our energy towards supporting our soccer team more than ever.
Hopefully, when all is said and done, justice will be served – and the United States will find a way to advance to the final 16 – leaving this frustrating outcome completely in the dust.
If not, it’s possible that the growing popularity of American soccer could take a hit going forward.
Unfortunately, it will be nearly a week (Wednesday June 23rd, to be exact) of time that we’ll have to stew over the result. Fortunately, the same goes for the hometown boys though, too – and hopefully that will light their fire just a little bit more heading into their match with Algeria.
Until then, maybe – just maybe – we can now relate to World Cup soccer just a little bit more – albeit in unfortunate circumstances.